International Conversions Chart

Colour TV Standards and DVD Regions

Video to (NTSC formats)

Video to (PAL/SECAM formats)



If you're saving videotapes to pass on to future generations, it's time to take action. Videotapes degrade much faster than most people realize. As the video camera increasingly replaces the photo camera, more and more families jeopardize the long-term survivability of their cherished family visual recordings by continuing to keep them on traditional videotapes. Transferring videotapes to DVD, before they lose the quality of their video image, is a permanent and cost effective way to guarantee a future for those irreplaceable memories.

Today’s Growing `Video Album' With millions of video cameras in North America today, we have become the most recorded generation ever. Ease of use and realism of playback has made the video camera the essential accessory for special events, such as weddings, children's milestones, anniversaries and reunions. Passing on the family `video album' to future generations provides individuals with a clearer vision of who they are and where they come from. An accurate personal historical perspective is important in shaping a better future for our families and ourselves. With numerous events recorded every day, we expect that future generations will inherit a highly vivid and realistic record of our times. Ironically, the opposite is true since the magnetic media on which those videos are recorded will not survive a single generation. 

Videotapes Don't Last Videotapes actually begin to degrade the moment they are made. That is why new videotapes are stored in plastic wrappers and are removed from shelves after 6 months. Environmental humidity causes the binder, which is the glue that holds the magnetic information particles to the tape material, to continually weaken and eventually fail. This means the magnetic particles, which hold the video and audio information in place, will end up in the bottom of the tape case. To make things worse, a videotape ages faster as it gets older. That's because as the binder absorbs water, it swells, and exposes more surface area to absorb even more moisture. Playing videotape always results in wear and a loss of magnetic particles. Playing an older, aged videotape results in significantly more wear. You know videotape is in an advanced stage of degradation when it clogs the playback heads of the VCR when it is played. In just 5 years of storage, videotape will have an observable loss in picture crispness. If a tape experiences high humidity and elevated temperature conditions, it will degrade faster.

The life expectancy of VHS and many analog videotapes may be as short as ten years and most will not be playable after 20 years. Technical reports by Sony, Ampex, Agfa, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers suggest that magnetic tapes must be carefully stored and maintained or their lives may be relatively short. It's a question of chemistry. Videotape is made from a base of polyester which is coated with polyurethane. The coating is a binder which holds the magnetic oxide particles. These oxide particles carry the magnetically encoded information within the tape. This plastic binding is sensitive to temperature and humidity. These conditions can cause the urethane particles in the coating to react with water. They will break free and can migrate to the surface of the tape. When the tape is played, the oxide particles which are no longer held by the binder can drop off and the video signal information drops with them.

Videotapes are also vulnerable to sudden loss of data resulting from static shock or common electric fields due to their magnetic makeup. Unfortunately, some of the strongest sources of electric fields, created from VCRs, TVs, speakers, and stereo components, are found around home entertainment centers where videotapes are commonly stored. The vulnerability of videotapes, along with their unavoidable loss of quality over a relatively short period of time, make videotapes the most unsuitable, long-term storage media.

Handle Tapes Prudently Although video quality will inevitably deteriorate over time, simple measures can be taken to prolong the life of videotape.

Keep tapes clean and stowed in dust free polyethylene containers. Dust or dirt on tapes will increase the amount of information rubbed off during playback and will also serve as a channel for dissipating the charges on the tape. Store tapes in low humidity and moderate temperature conditions. Avoid subjecting tapes to fluctuating environmental conditions. If you intend to play a tape frequently, make a copy and play the copy instead of the original. Keep the heads of your VCR clean. Dirty VCR heads are more abrasive than clean heads. Exercise your tapes once a year by fully fast-forwarding and then rewinding it. Never store a tape on top of or close to your electronic devices. Storing your tapes on top of your television or VCR subjects the tape to heat, electric fields and temperature fluctuations, all of which speed the degradation process. Use the tape's write protect mechanism to prevent a special tape from being re-recorded over. For the long run, however, important videotapes should be converted as soon as possible onto a media that is long lasting and into a format that has wide acceptance.

DVD Archival discs has longevity, Durability, capacity and marketplace acceptance make DVDs the most appropriate long term choice for preserving videos.

The DVD format solves the problems we have with videotape as a long-term storage medium. With a minimum life expectancy of at least 100 years for Archival DVD Master discs, DVDs are the best surviving media ever available and are now the choice for archival purposes.

Where videotape wears a bit each time it’s played, DVDs can be played as often as desired without any wear at all. The information on videotape can be wiped-out in the blink of an eye by a magnetic field produced by almost any component in the average stereo cabinet. In contrast, the data on a DVD consists of an optical layer that’s protected by a polycarbonate protective surface. Most normal scratches caused by a lifetime of handling are compensated for by built-in error correction that recognizes read errors and automatically corrects them. A 100-year-old DVD disc will play as well as a 2-day-old DVD disc. Additionally, when a copy of a videotape is made it always results in a generational loss of quality. But, when you copy a DVD, you get a perfect copy.

Converting Video To DVD Inevitably, even under ideal conditions, your videotape's destiny is to be unplayable in less than 20 years, most likely 10 to 15 years. For a vivid and lasting video album, select the DVD as the storage medium to preserve your videos . The sooner they're converted to DVD, the better the quality of the finished video.

NOTICE: Beware of DVD & CD rot. Companies that provide "too good to be true" low duplication, conversion and transfer rates are probably using inferior or very cheap DVDs & CDs to be able to make their profit. These cheap DVDs & CDs deteriorate. They either rot or the coating actually peels off from the DVD or CD. These cheap discs WILL NOT LAST as long as a cheaper brand VHS video tape. Actually we have seen some customer's DVDs & CDs that have only lasted 2 YEARS! You pay for what you get, so shop carefully when you are having your material copied, converted or transferred and KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS! You may need them!

CONVERTING VIDEOTAPE TO DVD TECHNICAL INFORMATION. All videotape transfers performed at TMTV are converted and re-mastered to Mpeg-2 Hybrid (VBR) Variable Bit Rate encoding and are region free NTSC: Transferring videotape direct to Professional Grade DVD-R Master is a very acceptable and economical way to transfer your videotapes and the quality is exceptional (Twice as good as VHS) and lasts 5 to 10 times longer, however you can not do further editing on your computer with a DVD-R Mpeg-2 Hybrid (VBR) Variable Bit Rate encoding.  If you wish to edit your videotapes at a later date, it is recommended that they be converted to AVI files or to DV (Digital Video) format and then make DVD Masters. We do not make ANY recommendations on software or hardware required to perform video editing due to the variety of computers and their capabilities with their hard drive capacity and speed needed for editing.

QUALITY ON TAPES OR DVDS LONGER THAN TWO HOURS: Virtual Multi Encode System 2x LP Horizontal Resolution (500 lines): We can use the DVD recording speed "XP"Maximum 1 hour (60 minutes) per DVD), "SP"Maximum of two hours (120 minutes) per DVD or "LP" Maximum of 4 hours(240 minutes per DVD). Tapes longer than four hours we will put on a second DVD. The "LP" recording speed for tapes longer than two hours (120 minutes) can be recorded to one DVD disk with the same quality as SP Speed with our Virtual Multi Encode System 2x LP Horizontal Resolution (500 lines). The Virtual Multi Encode System enables LP mode recording with the same 500 lines (D1) of horizontal resolution as that in the SP mode at 5.1 Mbps (Megabites per second), which is double the horizontal resolution compared to the 250 lines (1/2 D1) of conventional LP mode recording. Thanks to this, you can enjoy viewing extended recordings (4 hours [single-sided DVD-R] with exceptionally detailed images and twice the picture quality. The Virtual Multi Encode System achieves this by virtually encoding multiple aspects of a scene, such as detail and movement, while selecting the encoding system that assures optimum picture quality.

With the popularity of DVD players and distribution of Hollywood movies to DVD this is the best way to view your videotapes. We can make a PERFECT COPY of your DVD with our state-of-the-art duplicators. Titles & menus with titles can be created to instantly skip forward or back to selected sections. Options like; Custom DVD printing from basic black and white to full colour photo quality, custom DVD cases & printable inserts add a great touch to your DVD.

4x Natural Gradation 12-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter: Using the 12-bit Analog-to-Digital converter provides an extremely dense 4,096 steps of gradation. Compared to the 1,024 steps possible with a regular 10-bit Analog-to-Digital converter, this enables recording with four times as many smooth steps. The result is faithful reproduction of the details in both the bright and dark parts of scenes, so that for the first time you can see everything there is to see.

VCR Refresh Copying to DVD Time Base Corrector (TBC) + Advanced 3D Digital Noise Reduction (DNR): When recording videotape images onto a DVD disc, the Time Base Corrector helps reduce jitter and performs signal conversion to create a stable signal. At the same time, Advanced 3D DNR detects and virtually eliminates randomly generated noise and colour irregularities to help minimize flicker. Thanks to these two technologies, the tape input signal is automatically detected and optimum processing is performed to provide an easy way to even more beautiful digital recordings.

Progressive Scan: TMTV's DVD Recorders are equipped with a high-precision progressive video processor that handles 30-frame progressive scan images on NTSC discs. This lets you enjoy high-resolution progressive playback of original DVD images. To enjoy a progressive scan picture, you must use a TV and DVD player with progressive scan capabilities.

DVD Regions (store bought DVDs) Motion picture studios in the USA wanted to control the release of store bought movies around the world using DVD region codes. Movies are released on DVD at different times around the world, typically America and Canada first, Australia and Japan 6 months later, and Europe 12 months after US release. In some instances, DVD movies are available for purchase in America and Canada before they are released in European cinemas. Due to the high quality of DVD and the movie release system used by Hollywood, 8 regions were establish to prevent people from watching Region 1 movies before they were released on Regions 2-6.

DVD Region Locking is a system used to control which DVD store bought movies play on which DVD Players. The regions are broken down as follow:

Region 1 :USA & Canada
Region 2 :Mexico, Europe & Japan
Region 3 :The Orient (exc Japan
Region 4 :Australia and New Zealand
Region 5 :Asia and Africa
Region 6 :China
Region 7 :Reserved
Region 8 :Special international venues (airlines, cruise ships)

How does this affect you the consumer? This means that movies you buy from Region 1 (USA & Canada) WILL NOT play on a DVD player manufactured for Regions 2-6. Effectively Region 1 discs play only on Region 1 DVD players, Region 2 discs play only on Region 2 DVD players and so on. All DVD transfers & duplications from will play in ALL regions, however don't forget NTSC vs. PAL differences. Most DVD players made after 2001 are DVD-R compatible, but we can not guarantee compatibility.

What are PAL, NTSC, and SECAM standards?

PAL, NTSC, and SECAM Standards refer to the mhz that a signal is recorded at or sent. In the USA, and other NTSC countries, we use a 60 mhz signal. Unless we travel abroad we don't come into contact with these other signals. In much of Europe and South America it's PAL or 50 mhz signal. France, Russia and a few other countries use SECAM. What this means is a DVD disc or videotape and TV must be of the same standards type to view properly. I.E. A PAL recorded dvd or videotape will not play properly on a USA-made NTSC TV-it will actually appear in b&w and will roll vertically uncontrollably. For the same reason, you can't take your USA made NTSC TV to Europe with you and watch their PAL TV signal. can convert your PAL DVD, VHS or DV format videotape.

We can also record most video formats to PAL DVD for friends, family and business associates overseas.

DVD-R COMPATIBILITY & WARRANTY: Most DVD players made after March 2000 are DVD-R compatible, but we cannot guarantee compatibility on every single DVD player made, due to the many manufactures of different DVD players. ALL DVDs are tested by the lab in other DVD-R players before leaving the lab. You should check with the manufacturer of your DVD player to see if it will play DVD-R format. If it will not play in your DVD player it is a compatibility or codec issue and not a recording problem by TMTV. If your DVD-R does not play on your DVD player please contact us. There may be alternatives to the problem that we may be able to help you with. There are NO REFUNDS on DVD-R media unless it is a DVD-R media manufacturing or recording problem. Our warranties do not cover: DVDs that are scratched, have finger print damage or that have been missed handled or DVDS that have been written on by the use of anything other than a non alcohol-based, soft felt tip marker. Do not use a pen or pencil to write on the disc, it could damage the DVD. All our DVDs recorded at TMTV are recorded in NTSC, M-PEG 2 format that are region code free and non copyright protected.


AVI FILES: For future video editing of your videotapes we recommend having your video tapes converted to AVI FILES. This allows you to edit, capture prints, add music or sound, titles on your computer. These files are very large and would require storage or upload to a portable hard drive.

OUR company has a long successful track record of converting family videos. We have been in business since 1980. With a significant portion of our business being done by mail, provides very high quality transfers to DVD-video with a quick turn-around time, and guarantees the quality to be equal to or better than the source tape. It’s important to get it right the first time. 






TEAMWORK MEDIA LAB, TMTV & TMTV.NET are Teamwork Media Television Incorporated. All rights reserved. Nelson B.C. Canada